Add On Fees- When is Enough Enough?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Art234, Feb 7, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Art234
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    Art234 Milepoint Guide

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    Having just heard that US Airways is adding yet another fee to their industry leading fee lineup, I was wondering what you think the breaking point is...I mean when is enough enough?

    US wants to charge a $25 phone transaction fee for changing reservations using an agent (in addition to the $150 change fee). If you want to change your reservation at the airport using an agent, that will be $35...

    What started the debate was when someone was told that this new fee schedule would apply even in the event that the caller is trying to change his schedule in conjunction with an existing weather waiver..

    While the example is US, this is an industry wide issue, which is why I am posting it here. I do not think it appropriate for any airline to prey on distressed customers for any reason-a waiver should be a waiver...period.

    We all know we're going to have to live with fees in one form or another, but I'd like to know--what's your breaking point?
     
  2. torbster
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    torbster Silver Member

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    Can you change the schedule free of charge online with a weather waiver? Even if you can that's still pretty outrageous imo..

    I recently tried to get the taxes, fuel charges etc. back from a flight I didn't use. Sure, no problemo, only thing is - after they deducted their processing fees for my claim, I ended up almost owing them money :D

    In Europe I think Ryanair sets the standard for breaking points. Either it's charging people $54 for boarding cards (if they havent printed their own, seriously - who travels with a printer?), or the brilliant idea to charge passengers for lavatory-use on their planes. :D
     
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  3. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    What really irritates me is when itineraries are not bookable online, and then they want to charge you a ticketing fee for calling in.

    On a side note, i also hate how ticketmaster charges one to print their tickets instead of picking them up at willcall - doesn't this save ticketmaster time and money?!
     
  4. Art234
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    They are trying to influence behavior without considering all the ramifications.
    In cases where you can't book online, and MUST speak to an agent, I don't think they should charge you-and in many cases they don't--but it takes some effort.
     
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  5. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    I almost always end up paying the phone ticketing fee.

    How do you usually get around it? What do you tell them?
     
  6. Art234
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    The help desk can usually tell if you have tried to book on line. I just tell them I am trying, and they usually believe me..but if challenged, I tell them to just forget it and I will book on another carrier. That usually gets their attention.
    I will say, however, that I don't exploit that for the purpose of avoiding a fee.

    The underlying problem has to do with the fares themselves, but that is another discussion entirely.
     
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  7. SS255
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    SS255 Silver Member

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    If I can't keep all of the fee rules straight, and I'm smart, imagine how likely it is that the agent who is getting paid $8/hr will charge you a fee which you should not have been charged? The fees are getting WAAAAY out of hand, and it's simply impossible to keep track of them.
     
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  8. Fees seem to be getting out of hand at Delta when you get charged for changing the ticket and then get charged again for issueing the changed ticket!
     
  9. the_happiness_store
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    the_happiness_store Silver Member

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    That is just plain nasty.
     
  10. Jim
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    Jim Silver Member

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    I've often said I love to see a lawsuit when USAir Cancels a flight and has to call me.

    I want change fees and now phone fees.
     
  11. Travel2Food
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    Travel2Food Silver Member

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    Personally, I think fees are out of control as it is. It will take a good, quality product, network carrier to effect change. Southwest is good, but it's not a full network carrier (yet) - they need international flights with the same model.

    As I look at the fee situation, I am reminded of the auto industry. At one time, the domestic auto industry would sell you a base car and then charge for each individual option. The marketing theory was that you could buy a base car, but it's not something you'd want to drive (basic car: engine and 4 wheels, bench seats, no radio, no a/c, no carpet, etc. Car you want: bucket seats, whitewall tires, radio, carpet, etc = base price plus thousands). In the end, you'd pay more - much more - for an acceptable ride.

    That marketing model is the same thing that Ryanair is using, and most of the legacy network carriers are headed to.

    The auto industry changed when Japan, Inc (primarily Toyota) started selling cars people wanted. At that point, the US car makers changed.

    we still have taxes, destination fees, and packs on cars, which is not much different than rental cars, but it'll take a wholesale, large carrier giving people what they want for a fair price, all inclusive, to bring about change. WN has the best chance to do it, though it'll take a larger footprint to achieve success.
     
  12. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    I am somewhat contrarian on this.

    To me, the "kettles" who pay these fees (phone booking, baggage, and others) effectively subsidize me. I do not pay them because I have status. I know, of course, that there is no such thing as a free lunch - and in this situation others are padding the airlines' bottom line, keeping them in the air, while I get to avoid most of these fees. If anything, I (and likely many here) would benefit if base fares went down and the various fees (which are often comped to us) were increased to recover lost revenue.

    Tax that man behind the tree!
     
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  13. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    I agree that some fees are too much. What if fees like a nightly $20 fee to "guarantee" a non-smoking room became standard? Some fees, like baggage fees, I actually like because I don't use that service, and it's become a cash cow for the airlines, presumably keeping base fares lower. So for me it depends on type of fees the company looks to impose, and how much the fee is justified in relation to the extra cost to provide that amenity.
     
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  14. rdp

    rdp Active Member

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    If they can publish a headline fare that's a low number, then make it up in fees, they might be able to pick up some business from those who just pay attention to the listed fare.
     
  15. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Keep in mind Ryanair (I believe) was considering pay toilets. I mean really are they nuts?
     
  16. Art234
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    Yes, I do believe they are!!
     
  17. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Do not forget the 50 EURO fee to print a boarding pass at the airport!

    Fees are getting out of control with all the airlines.

    I am surprised no one has added a "saftey equipment surcharge" yet.
     
  18. Art234
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    Until there is a real public push back on fees, they will keep testing the water. We're trying to determine where the pain line is and help people push back HARD to make sure they get the message.

    At the very least, they can repackage fares to show what you do and don't get for a price-which would be more transparent than the current system-where you really don't know the FINAL cost of travel until you're at the airport...
     
  19. joesmoe
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    Hopefully we'll see some more regulation, by US/EU Authorities so far as what fees are reasonable and should be allowed to be assessed.

    Obviously printing a ticket at the airport should not incur a 50 EURO fee!
     
  20. SS255
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    Unfortunately, I think that the "push" by the public is a silent one. By booking away from those carriers that charge the most onerous fees, it is only encouraging said carriers to increase the fees to compensate for the shortfall. That's the problem with relying upon spreadsheet jockeys to supply the data, instead of relying upon customer behavior, mentality and feedback.
     
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  21. jupper
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    jupper Silver Member

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    So far the only thing that might start to help are the EU rules about cancellations and delays. Now, the airlines are trying to wiggle out of paying those, but it would be much more effective if they owed you money instead of just getting fined...

    A similar rule, perhaps combined with a revamped tarmac-delay-rule in the USA would help in getting the airlines to shape up. It's about providing decent customer service, while still making money, not the other way round.
     
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  22. jfhscott
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    jfhscott Silver Member

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    Somehow, I don't think people are getting it.

    Airlines gotta raise revenue to stay in the sky, whether it is directly through published fares or through "a la carte" pricing of bathrooms, luggage, baggage, calling customer service, breathing air, printing BP's or whatever.

    I think myself pretty educated as to how to avoid many of these "a la carte" charges, so I can avoid most of them (But no, I will not put on a pair of Depends prior to hopping on Ryanair). But on balance, one net result of these charges is that I travel relatively inexpensively compared to the folks who pay these fees. I'm happy to have them subsidize me.

    I suggest that the "law of unintended consequences", in the event of regulation of indirect fees, would result in higher base fares for all.
     
  23. chemist562
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    chemist562 In Memorian

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    What about if you were charged a $25 phone fee and the agent makes mistakes in the reservation?

    I was using miles for my wife & I for biz class tickets to Europe and they got her name wrong. Lucky for us, I checked the new reservation and caught the mistake. The 2nd agent had to go up to the manager's level to get it right.
     
  24. Art234
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    No disrespect, jfhscott, but the airlines should price their product to reflect the cost of providing the service. Artificially cheap fares unfortunately are not sustainable, and as such, they should not be offered. In any other industry this practice of knowingly selling your product or service below cost is called dumping and is illegal.

    That said, we all realize that fees like baggage charges and change fees are a fact of life, but there needs to be a better system which makes them more transparent, and shows a customer the TRUE cost of travel at the time of booking. For example, AC and FL have (or had) a multi tiered pricing structure, with I believe 4 or 5 coach fare levels-and each one spells out which service you get or don't get for the price quoted. The lowest published fare has no advanced seat assignment. The next fare has assigned seats, but no exits, and no bag allowance....etc......

    I think you can appease both customers and regulators with a system like this, however, as it stands, it is misleading, and less than honest because a reservations system can quote a lower price, yet you wind up paying more at the end.

    Also, for what its worth, airlines need to remember their elites, and exempt those at certain levels from most if not all of these ridiculous fees...such as telephone transaction fees, etc....and the Choice Seats clusterjump at US still sticks in my craw.
     
  25. Bay Pisco Shark
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    These fees continue for the same reason that dogs lick themselves. It is as simple as that.
     

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